Seven years – from acorns to saplings

This week, Watipa celebrated our 7th birthday. It has been a week for reflection and gratitude for all the hard work and ingredients that have gotten us to where we are today. One day, there will be oak trees.

I still remember from the early days in 2016, listening at a seminar where the presenter said that most small and medium enterprises do not last more than two years. The proportion was even higher for those with female founders who often face additional responsibilities pulling attention and human and capital resources away from the demands of starting, running and growing a social enterprise. 

Well, we’re still here. And that is down to the spirit, grit, commitment, shared vision, dedication and hard work of an enormous number of people:

  • The Watipa scholars and graduates, who have held their dreams tight and completed their studies despite personal and societal obstacles. 
  • The trustees, who generously give their time at weekends and across time zones, to guide keep Watipa on a visionary and stable path. 
  • The volunteers, who have improved our planning, budgeting, communications and administrative processes over the years by donating their time. 
  • The consultants in the social enterprise, who support the vision of Watipa and contribute a portion of their profits to sustain the scholarship program. 
  • The founding Samajikas and advisors, who shared energy and excitement about the vision that was taking shape.
  • The donors and supporters, who generously give resources to support our youth development program.

And, we have big dreams for the future. New scholarships will be awarded in 2023, and we have new business registrations in Australia to facilitate our operations around the world. 

We have always said that giant oak trees grow from small acorns. Time will tell, and some of those acorns have already become saplings…. 

To the Watipa family in South Africa, we stand with you in solidarity today in marking Youth Day. For as long as time, young people have shone a light on injustice and held hopes for a brighter future. Watipa hopes to continue to enable those lights to shine.

Watipa – enabling youth development and local leadership for more equal societies, just development, and better health for all. 


Announcement – new scholarships in 2023

Watipa, in partnership with Mwatipasa in Malawi, is pleased to announce that we will be awarding new scholarships in 2023.

We have chosen a different approach from previous scholarship rounds, to align with the direction of our current strategic focus.

What is new? There are two things that make the scholarships different in 2023 compared with previous years.

The first: this round of scholarship will focus only for students in Malawi.

The second: we will be contacting institutes of higher learning directly to ask them to nominate students who meet the criteria for a Watipa scholarship. In 2023 we will start with those institutes within Malawi where we have already established a connection and previously have supported Watipa scholars.

Will this be the new approach for Watipa scholarships going forward? We will try this approach in 2023 and reflect on its merits later in the year. Watipa is committed to remaining a global and visionary organisation supporting young leaders in Malawi and around the world – and we remain committed to being innovative with our approaches to best meet the immense need for scholarships like ours.

What are the selection criteria for a scholarship? The criteria remain the same in 2023 – that is assessed based on financial need, a vision for ‘paying it forward’ by contributing to community development, and an alignment with the vision and mission of Watipa. The difference in 2023 is that individuals will be nominated by their institutions (rather than applying directly) for a scholarship.

In a nutshell, in 2023, you may be eligible for a scholarship if you are:

  • 15 – 25 years of age
  • Living in Malawi
  • Have secured a place to study, either at an institute of higher education or secondary school. We will consider applicants starting a new course as well as those part-way through.
  • Passionate about community development
  • Committed to ‘paying it forward’ and giving back to your community
  • Identified by your institution as eligible for support and meeting these criteria

Watipa remains an advocate for gender equity, and will always support a majority of female scholars.

What does a scholarship include? The scholarships cover tuition fees (paid directly to the institution of higher learning) and a living expense stipend. The living stipend has been increased in 2023 to correspond to inflation and also to respond to feedback received from cohorts of previous Watipa scholars.

Who administers the scholarships? In Malawi, the scholarships are administered by volunteers with Mwatipasa, our local partner founded in 2017, which is supported with in-kind contributions from Prime Health Consulting Services in Lilongwe.

We congratulate Watipa scholars past, present and future – and continue to be proud of the localised agenda they are furthering to develop their communities.

Together we can move mountains.